Medical Examiner Information for Funeral Directors

Cremation Permits

Cremation permits are reviewed Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). Cremation permits received by 8 a.m. on a business day will be reviewed and returned by 10 a.m. that day, and cremation permits received by 2 p.m. will be reviewed and returned by 3:30 p.m. that day.

Cremation permits received outside of business hours will be reviewed and returned by 10 a.m. the next business day. Cremation permits will be reviewed in the time period outlined above and it is not necessary to check on the status within our outlined timeframe.

Please submit the cremation permit and death certificate* to us by fax at 855.300.7312 or by email at forensicpath@sparrow.org

Sometimes, death certificates signed by non-ME Physicians are too vague for the reviewing Medical Examiner to understand what happened, or include something that may have resulted from a non-natural cause (e.g. hip fracture, brain bleed, fall, overdose). In these cases, authorization for cremation may be delayed as our office works diligently to resolve any identified issue. We will notify you if there will be a delay. It is your responsibility and to your benefit to immediately notify the Office of the Medical Examiner if you note that a non-ME Physician has entered a non-natural cause on a death certificate so that we can expedite resolving the issue.

*If the Office of the Medical Examiner is signing the death certificate, you will not need to submit a copy of the death certificate with the cremation permit.

Cremation Permit Fees

Clinton County: $50
Eaton County: $35
Ingham County: $28
Ionia County: $50
Isabella County: $50
Livingston County: $50
Shiawassee County: $30

Body Release Hours

Bodies are admitted and released from the E.W. Sparrow Hospital morgue 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, including holidays. We recommend arriving during morgue working hours to pick up a body (Monday - Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 6 a.m. to noon, excluding holidays). Though you may retrieve a body at any time, body release is handled by Office of Decedent Affairs caregivers outside of business hours. Due to the nature of their role, they may be assisting a hospital unit with a death which may cause some delays. 

Body Release Location

When you arrive at Sparrow, please pull up to the loading area on the east side of the hospital, accessed from Holmes Street between the two fenced areas. If you need more specific directions to the morgue within the hospital, please contact us at 517.364.2567. We request that you bring sufficient staff for transfer of care as Sparrow caregivers are not able to assist in the loading or unloading of bodies into or out of transport vehicles.

Body Release Authorization

You must provide written documentation that you are authorized to receive the body. This does not require family signature. Click here for our standard release authorization form.

Please fax this document 517.372.5104 or bring it to the morgue in person at the time of release.